The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gwinnett County officials may be unable to carry out their efforts to deport illegal immigrants from the county jail due to budget problems. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The program, called 287(g), trains deputies to screen inmates to determine their immigration status. Inmates who are in the country illegally are turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.
The Sheriff’s Department estimates 18 deputies will be needed to staff the program. It was unclear Monday whether the county can afford to bankroll that many deputies due to its current budget crunch.
Bannister said Monday he was “still very much in favor of the program.”
“I’m quite certain the funding for that program will stay,” he said.
Gwinnett is one of four counties in Georgia that participate in the so-called 287(g) program, the others being Cobb, Whitfield, and Hall counties.
The situation in Cobb is so bad (read: hostile toward immigrants) that attorneys have begun advising their clients to simply stay away from the county.
The Obama administration, represented by new Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, has sought to reign in the excess of the program. In fact, Napolitano issued new guidelines last week just for that purpose. Read the press release here.
Gwinnett officials claim that their goal is to deport incarcerated illegal immigrants to free up jail space for other inmates. In actuality, however, Gwinnett’s participation in the program will probably make jail conditions worse. With officers now being given the power to expedite the deportion of illegal immigrants, is it really a stretch to imagine that they won’t be out there arresting anyone they think are eligible for deportation. And with more arrestees, jails will become more, not less, crowded, which, in turn, will present an even greater financial strain for Gwinnett.
Again, an example that popular laws make bad policies.